The historic Waldorf Astoria in New York closed almost seven months ago for pending renovations, though no work has started thus far. That will soon change as demolition work begins next month according to the New York Post. According to the article, Hilton has been “sweating bullets” as Chinese insurer Anbang has provided few updates since closing the historic property in March. Anbang is the same company who bid on Starwood prior to the Marriott merger.
Interestingly, The Post says Hilton executives were “blindsided” by Anbang’s plan to convert most of the 1,413-room building to condominiums. Apparently, the original plan was to convert 321 to condos and keep the remaining 840 as hotel rooms. However, the Chinese company swapped the plan, keeping just 350 – 400 rooms for what will sadly become a small boutique hotel.
There’s a larger problem for Hilton though, they’ve licensed out the name to create 29 Waldorf Astoria properties all over the world.
“Hilton wants a lot more hotel rooms. This was the grandest hotel in the world.” The repercussions could echo far beyond Park Avenue, insiders say. Anbang “has Hilton over a barrel,” the source close to Hilton added, as Hilton’s only means of retaliation would be to revoke Anbang’s license to the Waldorf name — a move that would effectively tear out the heart of the brand. “This is your linchpin for selling Waldorf properties,” the source said of the 47-story, Art Deco landmark at 301 Park Ave. “The entire brand revolves around the Manhattan property.”
Full article here.